CSDP: Recertification

What is Recertification?

Knowledge within the software engineering industry is dynamic and rapidly changing. A CSDP certificate holder has demonstrated their knowledge of the CSDP body of knowledge at the point of time of the examination. In order to maintain their proficiency in the field as knowledge, methods, and techniques develop, a certificate holder must be actively engaged in professional practice, seek opportunities to stay aware of and learn emerging practices, and develop and enhance their skills throughout the duration of their careers.

To assure that certificate holders are maintaining knowledge and skills that are state of the art in the software engineering field, certificate holders must earn Professional Development Units (PDUs).

The recertification process begins immediately upon achieving certification. A certificate holder must either 1) retake the CSDP examination for US $345 (member) or $445 (nonmember) or 2) obtain and report a minimum of 30 PDUs and pay a US $200 (member) or $300 (nonmember) recertification fee every three (3) years as long as the certificate holder continues the fulltime practice of software engineering.

Failure to meet recertification requirements by the recertification deadline results in a loss of the CSDP credential. To become certified again requires retesting. In this way, the IEEE Computer Society Certification Committee is assured that the candidate has maintained a professional knowledge base in spite of a failure to report continuing education through the recertification process.

Recertification Deadline

Recertification is required every three years on the anniversary of the date the certificate was originally issued. Original certification dates can be found on CSDP issued correspondence, certificates, and credentials. For example, if you were originally certified on 20 January 2008, your recertification deadline is 20 January 2011.

Recertification Applications (RA) and fees must be postmarked 30 days prior to the certificate holder’s recertification deadline.  RAs postmarked less than 30 days prior to the certification holder’s recertification deadline will be assessed a late fee of US $100.

Do not send in RAs as you complete an activity.  Individual pages for each relevant recertification category should be summarized on the RA, collected in a package with all supporting documentation, and sent in one package along with the appropriate fee.

Tracking PDUs

It is the responsibility of the certificate holder to properly record and document all activities during the three year certification period that will be used to satisfy the PDU requirement. For ease in reporting and to reduce the amount of paperwork required at reporting time, it is recommended that records be kept on a worksheet throughout the three-year period so that the worksheet need only be summarized and submitted to satisfy the recertification requirement by the reporting deadline. Incomplete or undocumented activities are not acceptable for reporting purposes.
Qualifying PDU activities are divided into seven (7) categories. Each activity must clearly apply to at least one of the knowledge areas outlined in the SWEBOK Guide. To maintain a balance in recertification activities, some categories or activities have a maximum number of credits that can be reported in a recertification period. These caps are noted in the descriptions of the categories. The seven categories eligible for PDUs are:

1.  Educational Activities
2.  Publishing
3.  Presentations
4.  Technical/Professional Service
5.  Self Study
6.  Employment
7.  CSDP Contribution

Obtaining Recertification

After receipt and review of the submitted recertification application, certificate holders are notified as to whether or not the submitted package satisfies the recertification requirements. If the recertification application (RA) is satisfactory, a certification credential update is issued to the certificate holder. If the RA is found to be unacceptable, the entire package is returned to the certificate holder for further processing and resubmission. It is the certificate holder’s responsibility to assure that all reprocessing is completed prior to the recertification deadline. Rejected RAs may be appealed to the Certification Committee.

Recertification Auditing

Each year, 5% of the RAs submitted are audited. The audit selection is made on a random basis. The audit is not intended to question the credibility of the certificate holder but to provide validation of the activities listed on the RA and to meet the program standards for professionalism, ethics, and fairness.

If an RA is selected for audit, the certificate holder will be notified by letter and asked to supply, within 30 days, supporting documentation for each activity listed on the RA. Examples of supporting documentation can be found in the category descriptions included in this document.

Rejected RAs

The CSDP Program may find that a certificate holder’s RA does not fulfill the 30 PDU requirement. PDU credit will be disallowed for activities and subject matter outside of what is defined in this document and for audited credits for which no supporting documentation is submitted.

If an RA is found to not fulfill the requirements for recertification, the certificate holder will receive a notification to that effect. The certificate holder has 30 days from the date the notice was mailed to resolve the recertification requirement discrepancy.

If the discrepancy is not resolved, the certificate holder will be notified and have the opportunity to be fulfill the 30 PDU requirement and resubmit documentation for recertification no later than 90 days following the certificate holder’s current certification expiration date. An additional late fee of US $100 will be applied.


Certificate holders who fail to satisfy recertification requirements by 90 days following their current certification date are automatically decertified. A Candidate is required to take the CSDP  exam to be recertified OR the certificate holder can appeal such decertification if extenuating circumstances are involved.